FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY DO I NEED YOU TO MIX MY MUSIC / HOW COULD YOU MIX MY MUSIC BETTER THAN ME?
Today, technology lets us make multi-track recordings at home. Anyone with a computer can spend unlimited time recording and developing music. Many people cannot afford to work in an expensive studio, and some feel that the sound difference between recording in their home or in a studio with a trained engineer is not worth the cost difference. These same people agree that this is not the case for mixing.
Mixing creates the final product that will be accepted or rejected based on how the musical idea is presented. There is more to mixing a song and enhancing the emotional impact than reading magazine articles and having equipment. You need ears, experience and sensitivity to the music. Until now, Multiple Gold / Platinum / Grammy mixing experience would have cost thousands per day in studio and personnel fees. Now you can fit this quality into YOUR budget.
Your music will benefit in many ways. All the elements will be heard clearly and strongly. The dynamics of your arrangement will be more powerful, the vocals will have a space that emphasizes performance nuances, and the overall sound will have compelling impact. Having mixed hit records in virtually every musical style, I can give your material a sound that is not only right for your genre but also enjoyable for anyone.
With over 20 years of experience bringing artists’ musical images to life, it is easier for me to accentuate what is important in any mix for everyone involved: what does the artist want to say, how do they want to say it, and what will interest listeners to make them WANT to hear the song again. In order to be sure that I am mixing your music as YOU wish, please include information about each song such as musical influences, why you wrote it, what you would like to "drive" it, and examples of what you want it to sound and feel like. At that point my experience becomes another tool to further YOUR musical expression.
HOW CAN I BE SURE TO GET THE MIXES I WANT?
We begin when I understand what you are looking for. I will post MP3s at mid-mix for your comments.
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE WITH BOOKING A STUDIO NEAR MY HOUSE?
In a studio you wait while the engineer prepares the mix, and then listen and request changes based on what you hear. The engineer changes the mix to your specifications while you wait and the process continues until the mix is finished. You usually make comments at pivotal points such as after basic sounds, after vocal work and after final rides. When the session is over and you go home, you must BOOK ADDITIONAL STUDIO TIME if you hear anything you want to change.
We work exactly the same way, but with more conveniences. By sending you mid-project references you can make comments based on hearing the mixes in your own environment instead of a studio you may not know the sound of. Also, you will have a better engineer actually MIXING while you are saving money (the idea to even DO this came after some of my clients stopped actually traveling along with their tapes to mixes).
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
The main reason is that due to the economy, piracy, corporate greed (or whatever your favorite reason may be) music budgets are DOWN, and some musicians I would love to be able to mix may no longer be able to afford my "full rate".
I believe that today's best music is recorded in people’s computers. Most of this music will never be mixed properly and therefore never be presented as it should. I want to work on this material and get the opportunity to help artists who are still starting out. The fact that entire songs can now be copied and mailed means it is possible to cut out expenses such as travel and hotels. By letting people name their own rates, I give anyone the chance to get the mix their music deserves, no matter where they live or how they are budgeted. All reasonable bids will be taken into consideration along with all other bookings in determining my schedule. Satisfied clients have sent files from across America and around the World.
Since I do this more for the love of the music than the money (which angers my manager) I set up a mixing suite that allows me to mix without expensive studio costs.
AREN'T YOU TOO BUSY TO CONSIDER MY LOWER BUDGET PROJECT?
Yes I am busy with "full rate" work, but in between those gigs I mix for Starving Artists.
I am usually in the midst of many of these types of projects, and what I work on during any given day depends on project status and due date. Some of it is "no-rush" work that I can easily put on the side for more urgent projects. The fact that I am always just a double-click away from resuming any mix allows me to easily shift and juggle my schedule.
I am always looking to work with interesting musicians. Some of the most interesting musicians do not have the largest budgets.
...when I first started doing this, I thought I would have more time with my family and travel less. What I have found is that although it does take time away from family, since I am always "two clicks away" I can get the time back whenever I want.
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE TO MIX A SONG?
The "starving artist"offer is not a per-song flat rate. It would be impossible for me to come up with a rate that would work for both a 3 minute simple folk song and a 7 minute complicated epic. Here is how it works:
"Starving Artists" send me a Mix/Mastering Request Form in which they describe their project, budget and number of hours they expect for that budget. I try to get to all reasonable bids.
I do not name the rate, it is up to you...
OK, SO WHAT IS A GOOD RATE?
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO MIX A SONG?
There are many factors involved, such as number of instruments and total song length. A mix can be as fast as an hour or as long as a day. Although people have told me they like even my fast mixes, the more time I have to work on something, the better it will be.
I can get something sounding and feeling as strong as possible in whatever time is permitted (even a very short time) but am most comfortable with at least five to ten hours per song. When possible I like to spend time on vocal rides and set up subtle effects.
CAN YOU SHOP MY SONGS TO ARTISTS OR LABELS or HELP ME TO GET A DEAL?
I'm sorry but I cannot help you in that way. I recently have received many emails from someone who kept asking me to help him to find an artist for his songs. I told him many times that I do not do this and he still kept asking me to do so. I DO NOT SHOP SONGS.
CAN YOU LISTEN TO MY MUSIC AND GIVE ME YOUR OPINION OR MIXING TIPS?
I get constant requests like this. As much as I would love to listen to everything and give each individual appropriate comments, there simply is not enough time for me to do so (I must listen to a song many times before commiting to any opinion). Since I am offering to work at "Starving Artist" rates in addition to "Big Budget" rates, my schedule is too tight to listen and give opinions on projects I am not involved with.
CAN YOU LISTEN TO MY MUSIC AND TELL ME IF YOU CAN IMPROVE IT BY WORKING ON IT?
Some have asked me to listen and see if there is anything I can do to help their music. Just ASKING the question implies that they are not completely happy with what they currently have. That makes the answer "YES" without even having to listen. What I would do to improve the music differs in each case, but usually comes down to better sounds and dynamic interaction. Any strengths or sensitivity in the music will be greatly enhanced.
HOW MANY MID-MIX REFERENCES WILL YOU SEND ME?
As many as you like.
IF THE PROJECT IS FINISHED AND I CHANGE MY MIND OR OVERDUB MORE, CAN YOU CONTINUE?
You can always extend the number of hours of any project, even one that has been finished.
CAN I CHANGE ANY SOUNDS OR PARTS AFTER I GIVE YOU THE SONG TO MIX?
Changing parts can reverse some of the mixing I have done and lead to additional work above and beyond the original mixing agreement. Please have all FINAL tracks ready for mixing.
CAN YOU MAKE MY SONG SOUND COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM MY TRACKS?
It depends how far your sounds are from what you are looking for. It's best to start out in the same ballpark. While it is possible to radically change sounds, it will not be the same as beginning with the right sounds.
WHAT IS MASTERING?
Mastering is the final process and the last chance to improve the sound of your music. With compression and equalization I will make any mix sound as full and have as much impact and level as possible. I will also sequence the songs with appropriate spacing and cross fades.
HOW IS YOUR TIME SCHEDULED?
The most important factors I consider when scheduling are deadline and budget. While all projects will be completed by any indicated deadline, higher paying projects get first priority. Of course, my mood may affect what type of music I prefer to mix on any particular day.
WHAT DOES YOUR RATE COVER?
Labor (time for ANY work done) and facility costs. Materials and postage are separate (you may provide them if you wish).
WHAT ABOUT MIXING FOR A FLAT RATE WITH NO THOUGHT OF TIME?
I am sorry, but I have seen such projects drag on as the artist and/or producer continue to change their minds and even the parts.
WHAT IF YOU JUST MIX THE FIRST 10 OR 15 SECONDS FIRST BEFORE I DECIDE IF I WANT YOU TO MIX THE WHOLE SONG?
To mix even only the beginning of a song I must get up sounds for the entire band.
WHEN DO I PAY YOU? WILL YOU WORK NOW AND I CAN PAY YOU LATER?
No work can be booked or begun until payment has been received.
Schedule conflicts will be resolved on a first-come-first-served basis.
NO, REALLY...YOU CAN TRUST ME TO PAY YOU LATER...
If it were up to me, I would be paying YOU for the honor of working on your song. However my manager insists that I be paid before working or even holding time in my schedule.
C'MON, I'M A NICE GUY...
I am sure that you are the nicest, most honest person on the planet. I still have to listen to my manager, who is quite firm on this.
HOW ABOUT PARTIAL PAYMENT BEFORE STARTING THE PROJECT AND BALANCE PAYMENT AFTER THE FINAL PROJECT HAS BEEN DELIVERED.
My manager insists that this is only possible for major labels that book me for FULL RATE work and have sent a deposit before work begins.
WHAT ABOUT HOLDING TIME AND THEN CHARGING A CANCELLATION FEE IF THE SESSION DOES NOT OCCUR?
I am sorry but I simply cannot confirm a booking without receiving payment.
HOW DO I PAY YOU?
Postal Money Order, Western Union or check. All work is performed after payment clears.
CAN YOU SHOP MY SONGS TO ARTISTS OR LABELS or HELP ME TO GET A DEAL?
I'm sorry but I cannot help you in that way at this time. I know that I answered this at the top of the page, but people still ask so I put it here twice.
I HAVE A GREAT SONG BUT NO MONEY. HOW ABOUT IF I PAY YOU AFTER I GET SIGNED?
Again, I'm sorry but I cannot help you in that way at this time.
HOW DO I KNOW YOU ARE LEGITIMATE?
References available upon request (I can fax you copies of testimonials on letterhead paper). You may want to see my web interviews (on this site).
WHAT ABOUT A CONTRACT BETWEEN US?
Sure. Let me know what you have in mind.
ARE YOU AVAILABLE NOW?
There are often holes in my schedule that allow me to fit in last minute in-house bookings. Please feel free to inquire.
© BruceAMiller, 2007